5 Tips to Prepare for Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment

Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Is your child’s first dentist appointment coming up? No problem! Pediatric dentists and staff are specially trained to help make every visit comfortable and pleasant. However, getting their teeth checked for the first time is a big step, and we understand that kids (and parents) can feel nervous. Here are 5 tips to keep the pesky jitters at bay:

  1. Come visit. Before your appointment date, feel free to call the dental office to schedule a tour. You and your child can meet the friendly dentists and staff in person, and come the big day, the office environs, from the dentist’s chair to the lobby, will feel more familiar.
  2. Ask questions. Unanswered questions can lead to needless fear or anxiety. Remember, your staff and doctors are there to help and will be happy to discuss any worries you may have.
  3. Stay positive. Prior to your child’s appointment, discuss the upcoming procedure in a casual and pleasant manner. It’s best not to use words that may scare him, such as “needle” or “drill.” Reading books, such as Max Goes to the Dentist and Dora the Explorer—Show Me Your Smile, can help your kids get more excited.
  4. Arrive early. Rushing to your appointment can cause unnecessary stress. Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the new experience. (TIP: Alameda Pediatric Dentistry provides new patient forms online, so you can fill them out at home and bring them to your first appointment.)
  5. Bring a toy from home. If your child has a favorite blankie or a small stuffed toy she would like to share the dentist’s chair with, by all means bring it. The goal is for your child to feel comfy and at home.

Still pondering when to schedule your child’s first dental appointment? If he or she is age one year or older, don’t wait! We recommend visiting a pediatric dentist by the time the first baby tooth appears.

Related articles:

How to Put the Brakes on Extended Bottle Feeding
Back-to-School Brushing Routine
Braces…On Baby Teeth?

Comments

  1. These are some really great tips when it comes to making sure that you have a great first dentist visit. I think that it is really important that your kid has a great first appointment with a dentist. That appointment will shape their dental habits for the rest of their life! That’s why you need to make sure that you have a great dentist too!

  2. The first dental visit for a child needs to be something that will have them coming back. I think this is where the experience can make it or break it for them in the future. There is a lot of people who don’t like or fear going to the dentist. I think it all starts with the first impression that they had. These tips should help any child out especially with the toy. I liked that my mom would be excited for us to go to the dentist. It made it fun for us because we looked forward to going all the time.

  3. I like the idea of arriving early. It isn’t the easiest thing to do when you are bringing kids but it can eliminate stress, like you mentioned. When you are less stressed so are the kids. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I don’t have kids yet, but hope to have many in the future. I’m sure we will make many first-time trips to the dentist. I hadn’t considered the visiting the dentist to be a potentially scary experience for a child; but, absolutely it may be. When is an appropriate age for you kids to begin having dental check-ups?

  5. I really like your tip about giving your child a tour of the dentist’s office before their real visit. My oldest has trouble going to the dentist and my youngest is due for his first visit in a few weeks. We just moved to Seattle so I am looking for a family dentist to help us out. I will definitely use these tips for our next visit. Thanks for sharing the information.

  6. I like your idea to visit the dental office with your child before their first appointment. This way, they could ease into the idea someone poking around in their mind. Plus, the atmosphere would feel that much more comfortable to them if they had visited it at least once!

  7. Alameda, these are some great tips on how to prepare kids for their first visit to the dentist. I like that you talked about scheduling a time to go visit the office before hand to get them used to it. Going to a pediatric dentist might be a good thing to do while your kids are little. That way they can see kids there and the office would be more geared towards children.

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  9. As a father of young kids, I know how stressful taking them to the dentist can be. I had never thought to take a tour before the appointment, that’s great advice. We are looking to find a new dentist, so I’ll remember that.

  10. My son is turning one soon, so preparing for his first dental appointment is an important step to make it go more smoothly. Taking a tour of a dentist office seems like a great idea. I feel that my son would feel more comfortable with going back there if he gets familiar with the office and staff first. That would be a great way to make him feel less intimidated if he’s familiar with his surroundings and with the dentist.

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